Stories published in January, 2014

Dr Javaid Laghari: Plagiarist or political victim?

In the last few days a report surfaced in The Express Tribune that Dr Javaid Laghari, former Head of HEC and former Vice-Chancellor of SZABIST, was found ‘guilty’ of plagiarism by a three-member HEC committee. By virtue of a paper Dr Laghari was said to have co-authored in 2003 with Mohammed Nadeem, a member of the Faculty of the Computer Science Departmet at SZABIST, the committee used plagiarism software to check the contents of the paper and found that it was 30 per cent plagiarised from a European Union report, although a previous report in the Dawn from August 2013 ...

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Making Democracy Real 2014: Come, let us dissolve these borders

I love being a part of events and exchanges that offer a possibility to interact closely with people from Pakistan. Hence, I was utterly pleased when I was invited to participate in the ‘Making Democracy Real 2014’ dialogue organised by Initiatives of Change at Asia Plateau in Panchgani, a five-hour drive from Mumbai. Such programmes strengthen my commitment to continue building ties with those who believe that genuine friendship between Indians and Pakistanis is possible. Held over five days, from January 10 to 14, 2014, this dialogue (they insisted on not calling it ‘conference’) brought together participants from over 30 countries ...

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Isloo boys, lion cubs in Lahore and a tale of lunacy

The triad of sociopathy refers to three behavioural characteristics that are associated with violent tendencies including murder and aggressive sexual behaviour. These characteristics include fire-setting, violence towards animals and bedwetting. A combination of any two is considered a sign for worry. Then there is compensation, a strategy whereby people cover up for their shortcomings, real or perceived, by excelling in other areas of life. This, in itself is quite normal. Children keep playing different sports till they find one they are good at and the ones who are subpar at all of them will usually end up burying themselves in books and getting good ...

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My name is Mastung and I am innocent…

Perhaps you have heard about me in the news… My name is Mastung. I am situated at the bottom of the Lak Pass tunnel and one must pass through a mountain hole in order to get to me. And hence, my residents named me Mastung because in the Brahvi language, ‘Mash’ means ‘mountain’ and ‘Tung’ means ‘hole’.  Once you cross the Lak Pass tunnel, I welcome you with apple farms. A cool breeze awash with apple fragrance refreshes your soul as you enter. These apples are sold in markets across the country. What?  You say you have not heard of me? If you stop your car at a ...

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I stand with Hanif: Jinnah is not a ‘hero’

No sooner had I finished reading Mohammad Hanif’s full interview with The News, that I dragged a carton of canned food into my basement and braced myself for a storm of nationalism that I knew would inevitably follow. And when, pray tell, have I ever been wrong? A blog appeared recently, as scathing as one would expect it to be, blasting Hanif’s audacity to think that Jinnah really isn’t anyone’s hero. Mr Waqas bluntly implies that freedom of speech is limited to those who speak favourably of Quaid-e-Azam and the other heroes we have been assigned. Indeed, if you have nothing nice to say ...

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I am sorry Mr Policeman, you deserve better…

This year, like preceding years, began with massive bloodshed. There have been targeted killings of civilians in the south, sectarian killings in the west and militants in the north of Pakistan. Amid these killings we lost a very brave policeman – Chaudhry Aslam. His death was another gloomy reminder of the continuous attack on our police force as well as our lack of empathy and recognition for their work. In January alone 26 policemen have been killed in Karachi, while in Peshawar another six have been killed and the month is not even over yet. And scores of policemen continue to be injured and killed across the country every day. Unfortunately, only one ...

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Tribal leaders order gang rape of Indian girl: When will the men stand up?

“We are living in a male dominated world.” This statement has never felt as humiliating as it does today, when I am reading the news of a village council ordering the gang rape of an Indian village woman, as a form of punishment, who was suspected of having a love affair with a Muslim from a neighbouring village.  Hurts, right? The incident which was reported to have happened on Tuesday was a result of the girl’s family’s inability to pay Rs25, 000 as a fine, for the said ‘crime’. The news numbed me and for the first time in many years, I am at an ...

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Australian Open 2014: Birth of a new legend, Stanislas Wawrinka

In the realm of tennis, the Swiss class prevailed yet again. However, this time it was not the four-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer, who made the headlines. The new champion of the Australian Open 2014 is Stanislas Wawrinka, who earned his title on January 26, 2014 after defeating the unbending, unflinching and ruthless Rafael Nadal. Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland celebrates defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain in their men’s singles final match at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 26, 2014. Photo: Reuters The match had a series of daunting backhands from both players, the services went on ...

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Should we be concerned about the almighty dollar game?

As someone who works in the finance industry, I am frequently asked, at social events, about where I think the dollar is headed. Although I’m not sure if people are genuinely showing interest in our economy or just trying to count their dollars their loved ones sent them from abroad. Regardless of their reasons, I value their intrigue nonetheless. The greenback affects our lives whether we like it or not. Pakistan looks to the US for just about everything – aid, trade, political arm twisting, you name it. So it’s important to understand how our economy reacts to the dollar game. But whether ...

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Say no to dolphin shows in Pakistan

Imagine a seventeen-year-old, full of energy, vigour and liveliness, always ready to get up and do something. Now, imagine confining these young, vivacious teenagers to a closet and training them to perform and entertain an audience. Does that make sense? This is exactly what we do to dolphins. A dolphin is a mammal just like us and the brain activity of a mature dolphin is second only to humans. They love to swim at 140 nautical miles a day, they migrate in social groups known as pods, hunt for live fish and help each other nurse their young. Moreover, as most of us have ...

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